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Nov 5, 2022; Starkville, MS, USA; Tank Bigsby (4) gives auburn the lead during the game between Auburn and Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium . Zach Bland / AU Athletics

Tigers' late comeback not enough to beat Mississippi State

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) -- Mississippi State beat Auburn in overtime 39-33 in Auburn’s first game since firing former head coach Bryan Harsin. Auburn received its fifth consecutive loss, but the team was led by interim coach and former Tigers running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams.

The Bulldogs let the Tigers climb back after building a 24-3 lead. Auburn outscored Mississippi State 27-6 in the second half.

"I'm so proud of my guys. They fought," said Williams. "I emphasized two things all week: serve and believe. Those guys exemplified that. We didn't complete the mission. I'm proud of those guys. They fought their tail off."

The first quarter was a tough one for the Tigers. After giving up a field goal and a touchdown on the first two drives, Auburn gambled on a 4th-and-1 play from their own 26-yard line and was unsuccessful. Mississippi State scored off that failed Auburn drive, building the early Bulldog lead to 17-0.

The halftime score was 24-6, Mississippi State on top.

To open the third quarter, the Auburn defense got a stop on the State 27-yard line, setting up great field position for Cadillac Williams and company. Two plays later, Auburn Quarterback Robbie Ashford found himself crossing the goal line after a 20-yard rush which cut the State lead to just 12.

Auburn was energized by the leadership of Coach Williams, and looked to steal the momentum in the second half.

Towards the end of the third quarter, Auburn got the ball back and the offense started clicking. Big rushes from running backs Tank Bigsby and Damari Alston began the charge downfield. Ashford took off again for an 18-yard touchdown, making the score 24-19, Mississippi State still leading. Ashford had a very impressive day rushing the ball, totaling two touchdowns with 108 yards on 18 carries.

Into quarter number four, the Auburn offense kept on rolling. The Tigers took their first lead of the game when Bigsby broke free for a 41-yard touchdown run. Bigsby finished with 13 carries for 89 yards and a score. With 6:36 left in the fourth quarter, Auburn led 25-24 after missing the two-point conversion.

The two teams were trading touchdowns late in the fourth. Mississippi State Quarterback Will Rodgers tossed a 33-yard pass to Rara Thomas for a Bulldogs score. Rodgers was a force to be reckoned with, as he was 42-for-59 passing for 357 yards and 3 touchdowns. A two-point conversion was attempted, but State was not able to get in for two. Auburn marched back down the field once they received the possession, and with 1:05 to play, Auburn running back Jarquez Hunter plowed his way into the endzone for six, and a three-point lead.

Too much time was left on the clock, and Mississippi State moved down the field quickly, setting up a field goal. The Bulldogs attempted not one, not two, but three field goals because Coach Cadillac Williams used up two timeouts to try and ice the opposing kicker. It didn’t faze Massimo Biscardi though, as he sunk the tying field goal from 44-yards out.

In overtime, Auburn received the ball first, but was unable to score. A missed field goal on fourth down by Anders Carlson was crucial. Mississippi State got the ball back and, in two plays, scored the game winning touchdown on a five-yard run by Jo'quavious Marks.

Final score from Starkville, Mississippi State 39 Auburn 33.

Auburn’s next battle is next Saturday at home against Texas A&M at 6:30 p.m.


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